Gahanna's Creekside is progressing with new owner Strathmore Development Co.
Strathmore president Scott Chappelle and vice president Terry Benton met with Gahanna City Council on May 13 to discuss pending legislation and to provide an overall update.
Chappelle said Creekside has undergone some changes in the 10 months since Strathmore purchased the private portions of the development.
"We're pleased how commercial leasing is going," he said. "We have letters of intent for remaining space. We expect to be fully committed in 90 days."
He said the residential portion of the project also is moving forward.
"There are a significant number of tenants moving in," he said. "In terms of a timetable, we expect to be leased up by the end of summer. Now we're 61 percent leased."
Of 85 residential units, he said, 10 are occupied.
"There are 61 percent signed and another 10 percent are being signed," he said. "We're getting a surprising number of people coming from Easton. Many (residents) are coming from out of state. We have young professionals, retirees, empty-nesters and a professional soccer player."
Council member Beryl Anderson asked if the residential units were being leased or purchased.
"Right now we can only do leases," Chappelle said.
He said the existing Creekside residents have gone through a lot during the project's transition.
"I think we've been pretty consistent with what we told them," he said. "We've had a few complaints about noise. Now they're living in the middle of construction zone."
Anderson asked how long construction would last.
"What we were originally trying to do on the residential side was isolate floors," Chappelle said. "The way it was originally designed, you have to get approved vertically. I anticipate it being completed in the next 60 days. There is light at the end of the tunnel."
Benton said it's like remodeling a home kitchen.
"It hurts at the time, but you're glad you did it."
Council is considering a Creekside signage lease agreement.
Strathmore has been working with the city administration to establish a more comprehensive sign plan for Creekside.
The Planning Commission approved a proposed sign package April 24.
Development director Anthony Jones said the city proposes to lease two locations in front of Creekside Plaza to Strathmore to allow for the construction of two monument signs that would be used to display the name of tenants at the Creekside project along Mill Street. He said Strathmore has gone through the Planning Commission to receive approval of variances for two monument signs, which include three tenant panels, at Creekside Plaza; two projecting signs at 81 Mill and 101 Mill St.; and one projecting sign for the parking garage at 121 Mill St.
"We're here for the lease agreement for the monument signs," he said.
Benton said Strathmore early on started interviewing existing tenants, previous tenants and customers.
"We asked them what worked and what didn't," he said.
Feedback showed the location was problematic.
If "100 Creekside" were searched on a tablet or mobile device, one would have ended up in Columbus.
"We heard from potential customers; they've gone to the wrong location," Benton said.
Strathmore worked with the U.S. Postal Service to change addresses.
The next step, Benton said, was to listen to tenants in the rear of the project who had poor visibility to potential customers.
"We worked with Planning Commission to come up with solutions," Benton said. "We're hoping you'll approve the lease agreement."
Jones said the agreement is similar to Rees Flowers.
"You would lease this space to Strathmore, and they would make an annual payment of about $400 per year for the term of the lease agreement," Jones said. "They can only put up signs approved by Planning Commission. Any changes have to go through the approval process. We felt the sign locations weren't hurting pedestrians."
Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said Strathmore would pay for the sign costs.
"We hope we have long-term tenants," Benton said. "There are three panels that would be easily changeable."
The development department also requested that council authorize the mayor to sign a permit application for a Local Cantina restaurant proposed for 101 Mill St., Suite 100 (the former Buck Mulligan's space). This requested signature is required for an individual to submit this type of liquor-license transfer application for approval by the Ohio Board of Liquor Control.
The requested liquor-license transfer application is used when no new liquor permits are available within a city or if it is not possible to transfer a liquor license of the same permit class within a city.